I get it. We’re all busy and sometimes yoga is the last thing we want to add into our hectic schedule. But take it from me, we need it. Whether you’re a new mom, entrepreneur or corporate gal, trust me you’ll benefit from having some yoga in your life.
And don’t worry. I’ve heard all the excuses in the book. I’m not flexible. I don’t have time. I’m not a yoga person. So here’s my advice. Take those excuses and put them aside, they’re only holding you back. Not flexible? That’s why you need yoga. I’ve been teaching yoga for two years and I’m not your picture perfect Instagram model yogi (and probably won’t ever be!). I have the mobility of a runner and I need yoga to keep me relaxed and healthy. No time? You don’t need to go to a yoga studio for a 90-minute practice to be a yogi. Set aside 20-minutes to practice at home and if you love it, you might start craving more. Not a yoga person? Give it a try. There are so many different styles and ways to practice yoga. Just give it a chance!
One of the biggest benefits I’ve received through yoga is the ability to relax and unwind. Whether it’s after a long run or a hectic week at work, yoga helps me destress and restore. Here’s a simple yoga sequence of five poses designed to help you unwind.
Practicing three-part breathing will help you stay grounded and aids in completely clearing the mind. To begin, find a comfortable seat on the floor or on a meditation cushion (pillows work great, too). If sitting up straight is a challenge, sit against the wall or in a chair. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart. Right away, bring the awareness to your natural breath. Start to feel your breath fill up your belly. Continue to inhale as the breath expands to the ribs, and then the chest. Pause at the top of your breath when your lungs are completely filled with air. Exhale from the chest, then the ribs, and then the belly. Pause at the bottom of your breath.Continue breathing in this way for five or ten rounds, add more rounds as you feel comfortable.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Also known as reclined bound angle pose, this pose is an easy hip-opener that helps relieve stress. To get into the pose, lie back on your mat or the floor. Create a “butterfly” shape with your legs and press the soles of your feet together. If the stretch on your inner thighs is too intense, place blocks, blankets or pillows under your thighs close to your hips. Place your hands wherever you feel most comfortable. Stay in the pose for several minutes focusing on your breath.
Bridge pose strengthens the legs while also stretching out the front side of the body. From Supta Baddha Konasana, press the soles of your feet flat on the mat, hip width distance apart. Press into your feet to lift your hips. For a more restorative version of the pose, place a block (or blanket/pillow) under your hips. Stay there for five to 10 breaths, then lower down slowly.
Thread the Needle
As busy women, we often tend to hold our tension in our hips. Thread the needle is a gentle hip opener that will help release that stress and help you gain more mobility in your hips. From bridge pose, lower your hips then cross your ankle over the opposite thigh. Either stay there, or reach for your thigh or shin. Relax your shoulders and press your tailbone down to elongate your spine. After 10 breaths on one side, switch sides. This pose can also be done against the wall.
Legs Up the Wall
This pose is exactly what it sounds like. Bring your legs up a wall to restore your legs and enjoy a super relaxing pose. If you have tight hamstrings (fellow runners, I’m looking at you), scoot your hips away from the wall until you feel comfortable. You can stay here to finish your practice, or make your way off the wall and into Savasana, your final resting pose. To take savasana, simply lie down on your back with your eyes closed and enjoy the silence.
I hope you’re able to integrate some of these poses into your busy lives! If you ever have a yoga question or just want to say hi, check me out on Instagram at @LovingLifeontheRun.